v/a: Tape Excavation (Independent Project Records, 2020/2023)

April 9, 2023 at 3:50 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Tape Excavation

First released on vinyl in 2020, this is an extended CD edition of an album of rarities by various Bruce Licher projects, remastered by none other than Warren Defever. It goes in roughly chronological order, which means it starts out with primordial post-punk recordings by Project 197 and Bridge, bashed out at rehearsals or in a parking garage. Other than a handful of songs, all the tracks on this release are short, so they all kind of rush through as a haze of memories. There’s moments that stand out, like the fun, organ-driven mysteria of Final Republic’s “Chase”. Savage Republic’s “First Siege” is closer to a danceable post-punk rhythm, while “Assembly of the Dead” has the same energy but is more solemn and processional. Licher’s music started to have more of a dreamy sway during the ’90s, particularly with space rock band Scenic and projects like the bedroom recording duo Lemon Wedges. Exploratorium’s “The Atmosphere” is more of a dark soundscape that sounds like airplanes flying overead. Then “SF Cima Song” is just a gorgeous wash of lovely ethereal guitars. The Lanterna collaboration “B Minor” is moodier and progresses a bit more than other songs here. Later home demos like “Birthdaysong (7 x 7 is)” and “Mesopotamia” have strong, chiming rhythms and spacey textures, making an impressively grand sound for solo guitar tracks.


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